Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Enter the Dragon

But first one has to do the work.  This was my dining table this morning as I worked on my Weight Watchers paperwork.  I had to get it done before I could let the dragon out of it’s slumber.

This is my craft table, set up in the living room for this special occasion.


So, off to the studio to applique the dragon’s nose and eye down.  I think he is about 9’ long, a little ungainly for applique but we got that little part done.

Then back to the table where I laid out the backing and began pinning my lovely dragon on to it.

Smooth it out, pin, smooth, pin,

smooth, pin, smooth, and pin, etc. 

I thought I would never get it done since every once in a while I had to remove pins in order to re-smooth.

And once that was done (after several breaks for back  aches) I began basting.  I knew I couldn’t do the applique on this big a project with pins (ouch a lot) so the whole thing has to be basted.  I only got a small part basted before I had to quit for the night but I will say I have gained a whole new respect for people who do hand quilting.  Whew!

I had to put the dragon up for the night because the cat came in and the first place she chose to light was on the craft table.  But tomorrow morning, after the cat goes out for the day, he will be back out and the basting will begin again.  I am really excited to see him coming to life.  Now I just need a name for him.  Any ideas?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Opps: Empty Design Wall

Actually, the wall is not empty but you have seen the dragon who is up there so often that I decided he would not be seen today.

So, here is the 003fabric I received for the Ugly Fabric Challenge.  And may I say, challenge is the right word.  However, I had just looked at a pattern online that I think will work well ok with this fabric.  I probably won’t begin work on it for a couple of weeks as I have other projects going but I do have a kind of plan.

I have been working on a couple of projects I can’t show.  I almost finished one project yesterday and have a second one about half way done.  Of course since I am making it up as I go along, who knows how far along I really am.  Smile with tongue out

As for the dragon, I have decided on the background fabric, prepared it and then attempted to pin him on.  I put the fabric on the DW and then the dragon but I found that I couldn’t pin him on because the pins kept sticking through to the wall fabric.  So I am currently waiting for DH to unearth a craft folding table from our junk storage room so I can get him pinned on.  After he is adequately stuck on the fabric I am going to hand baste him down in preparation for applique.  Then I will have to decide if I will machine or hand applique him.  (Or maybe he will decide for me)

And I guess that’s all folks.  Hopefully I will have more to show next week.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Finishes = Yea!!

banana's finished

A finish here.  I cut the bindings yesterday, sewed them together and pressed them this morning and the put them on this afternoon.  I made one long binding and just cut them off when I had gone around each piece.  I can tell you that they are BRIGHT and really make our table look like summer.

CD Block 1

I also got the first block of the new Carol Doak BOM done today.  Isn’t it funny that even though paper piecing almost guarantees that you have perfect points I was able to cut off one of them with my picture?  Anyway, I am using two batiks from my stash that I think play very well together.  If I read Carol right this is a two color quilt (a little more with my batiks) so of course there is orange.


One of the things I am trying to learn though this BOM is how to figure fabric cutting for paper piecing.  In the past I have just taken a hunk or strip of fabric, pieced it and then cut off what was left.  Doing this left odd shaped leftovers that frequently couldn’t be used for the next piece.  Carol gives very specific directions on how to cut for her designs and there was almost no leftover scraps.  If I can figure out how she determines her cutting directions I can use this with other projects.


Since I completed what I had set out for this week I will spend the rest of this evening redoing my “to do” list.  I have swap blocks to piece (fabric is all cut for all 24 of them), a backing to make for the Carpenter’s Star quilt-along starting June 1st, and 3 2011 BOMs to work on.  And that is just a very small list that I hope to make a dent in over this weekend.

I hope everyone has a great Memorial Day weekend and that we all spend some time remembering those who have given their time and lives to keep our country safe and free. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Little Quilting Goin’ On

This past week I finished my Carpenters Star quilt top.

CarpentersStar top

As you can see my Design Wall is behind a lot of other things so getting a straight shot of this top is not going to happen.  (and note that the Dragon is lying in wait right in front, impatiently waiting to get his home).

bananas on frame

With that completed it was time to get my Color Palette Challenge piece on the frame and quilted.  I had been having trouble with the stitch regulator but Sunday it worked perfectly and we went to town.

finally working

Well, before that I had to figure out how to use my bobbin winder.  I have had my HQ for 6 years and have never been able to make this thing work.  About 6 months ago I finally bought a dimmer switch to attempt to regulate the speed and I also bought bobbins with holes on the sides.  But I never had tried to use either.  However, when I went to start quilting I found I had no prewound bobbins that would work with my backing so I had to get this out and see what would happen.  And low and behold, it worked GREAT!  And to add to that, I used Maxi-Lock thread in the bobbin for the first time: also worked great. 

quilting started I decided on a basket weave pattern for the borders.  I saw this on one of Ebony’s YouTube videos (LoveBug Studios).  She used it for sashing but I thought it would look great in these little squares.

Banana closeup

And this is how I quilted the bananas.  My intent was to practice quilting with control but that control thing seems to be hit and/or miss with me.






2 placemats 

I got the two placemats quilted….

quilted tablerunner

And the table runner quilted, too.  Of course, they were all on the same backing fabric so were quilted as one quilt.  I still need to cut them apart, square them, and bind them, but that is for another day.





quilting closeup I love that despite my control issues, the quilting looks really good or just how I wanted it to look.


And I love all the texture.  I tend to like a lot of close quilting so this fabric was just perfect for me.

On my quilting breaks I started reading the instructions for Carol Doak’s new BOM.  I do enjoy paper piecing but I have never cut the fabric the way she teaches.  So I decided that I would try it her way, since she is the expert and all, and see if it would make the job easier.  Later this morning I will cut the fabric for the first block and see how it goes.

That is I will do that right after I start reading all the blogs that have linked up with Design Wall Monday.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Bloggers’ Quilt Festival

Spring Garden

Each year I find out about the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival right after it is too late to enter a quilt.  This year, however, I am in time.

The quilt above is called Spring Garden.  It was a BOM through my lqs in 2005 and custom quilted in 2008, after I stopped being afraid of my HQ16.

Spring Garden back

I have never been good about using the settings that are recommended so I began designing something different.  The four center blocks wound up there because they were “slightly” smaller than the 12” they were supposed to be but fit together perfectly.

Then the border around them was planned to make them fit into the rest of the blocks.  I made the checkerboard blocks so that the BOM blocks would stand out more.

This quilt has stayed with me and currently it is adorning my wicker chest-of-drawers in the bedroom.

back of chifarobe

Thanks for visiting.  To see more creativity, please visit the rest of the Festival

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Busy and Productive

This has been a good week for getting things done.


Don’t look at the dog, look at the white part next to the bed.  What you can see is the top step, of two, we put next to the bed because we have two dachsunds and don’t want them jumping on or off the bed and hurting their backs.  However I painted the steps with a glossy paint and decided it was too slick.  So I needed a rug runner for them.  See it on the step?


I bought a bathmat with a rubberized backing and cut it in half.  Then I needed to bind the cut edge.  I was planning to use colored Duct tape but found a woven binding tape and sewing it on.  


I have to say that my straight stitch machine did a wonderful job.  This is the machine that I do all my piecing on and it handles all fabrics, has a pin stitch for when I have multiple layers, and never fails to give a great stitch no matter what I throw at it.


I also got all my Carpenter’s Star blocks put together and two of the three borders on.  Just for this picture I stuck a piece of the outer border up so I could see how this quilt will look when it is all together.  One small problem is that I don’t have enough of that outer border fabric for the binding so at sometime I will have to figure out a substitute.  Anyway, I am really pleased with how this top is looking.


I got to celebrate Mother’s Day over a three day span.  On Saturday we received a package from our youngest son and his wife.  It contained the card you can see in this picture (Snoopy dances on the inside) and the glass owl in front of the lamp (a Christmas 2010 gift).  I collect glass owls and they keep finding ones I have never seen before.  And the fun thing is that we will get to go antiquing with them next month when we get together in NC for a short vacation in the mountains.  Yea!!!


On Sunday, after our Mother’s Day dinner, DH and I spent time, and money, at Lowes where I got this throw rug.  I don’t drink all these kinds of coffee but I do like flavored coffee and love this little rug.  It is in the entryway of the bedroom, reminding me what I get to look forward to when I get up in the morning.


Then on Monday we had lunch with our daughter and she gave me this gift.  I kind of looked at it askance until I opened it and saw what was inside.


Look at these beautiful plates.  Of course she has already told me we are to have her and her husband over for desert served on them.  And you are seeing them fresh from the dishwasher: yes, we have already had desert on them, twice.


I should also note that I heard, via email, from our older two sons also.  I feel truly blessed.


Monday, May 14, 2012

No-reply and quilting progress

No-reply bloggers:  Please set up an email address so I can address/answer questions.  I LOVE comments and reply to them all.  However, it is really discouraging to have thought up and typed a reply only to see that it is going to go nowhere.  I do try to remember to look at the return address so that this doesn’t happen, but it rarely ever occurs to me that someone would ask a question with no way for me to answer.  Now, on to the good stuff.

I had a very productive week.  Carpenter's Star 1

This is the beginning of my Carpenter’s Star for Judy’s quilting feathers class.  I got this fabric cut on Monday and sewn on Thursday.  I got it on the wall right away, just so I could have something new and different for Design Wall Monday.  Angel

Carpenter's Star fabric
These are my main fabric choices, all from stash. 

Carpenter's Star 2
Then yesterday, after a great Mother’s Day dinner at the Mellow Mushroom, I got most of the rest of the blocks cut and sewn.  I have cut the last 4 but they have to wait until today, after I get the laundry started.  (Don’t you hate it when housework interferes with being on a creative run?)

May Color fabric
But wait, there’s more.  On Monday I gathered the fabrics for the May Color Challenge.  See the banana fabric?  I bought that in January.  When I saw it I thought of the 0 point value of fruit, especially bananas, at Weight Watchers.  I was going to make something to wear to my meetings but nothing ever came to mind so now they are going to decorate my house.

runner & backing fabric They are now 2 placemats and a table runner for our dining room table.  Here are the tops, and the backing fabric, waiting to take their turn on the frame.  I think they are going to look great on the table during the summer. 

I also worked on another project, completing the top but since it is a gift I can’t show it for a while. 

Ugly Fabric
Oh, I did one more thing.  I collected my fabric for the “Ugly Fabric Swap.”  This was really hard for me.  I found that I have very little “ugly” fabric and what I did have didn’t go together at all.  I also found that I feel guilty sending ugly fabric to an unsuspecting quilter.  But those are the rules so off they go today.

And, off you go to check out Judy’s Design Wall.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Non-quilty Pictures

This is what I woke up to one early Spring morning.  We live surrounded by trees and on all of the leaf trees there were these “webs.”

Some were small and loosely woven.

And some quite dense.


And some were quite pretty, like this one. 

I originally took these pictures to see if the camera could see what was in them but I still don’t see anything but the web fibers.  However, I have decided they were spun to house babies.  Now, I’m not fond of insect/spider babies but I was impressed with the security they were given.  Also to be noted, these webs were gone within 24 hours.

While I am on our nature posting, I will show you our outside cat.  We are not really cat people but living out in the woods, we tend to attract passing, and not so passing cats.  This is “Stubby.”  She has a 3” stub of a tail.  She lives on our deck and considers it her private domain.  We wondered how she lost her tail until she had 6 kittens last year.  Three had long tails and 3 were stubs.  Interesting, huh?  Anyway, we had her fixed and now there will be no more kittens from her.

However, we don’t seem to lack for wild cats and they continue to have babies.  This is the latest litter: 5 completely gray kittens.  They are just starting to eat away from mom so if we can catch them, and mom and dad, they will be transported to the shelter.  We hate to do that but we have “fixed” two cats, both living with us, but can’t afford to do that for everyone who stops by.  But aren’t kittens the cutest things?

And speaking of cute, here is Momma’s little helper.  Notice that her paw is right on the curser pad.  It isn’t that she wants to do anything on the computer (see her lack of attention to the screen) but she seems to want me to not do anything, too.  It’s a good thing I think she is so cute or she would be bumped off in a hot minute. 

Well, the clock needs winding and the studio needs some sewing attention so I will get off this computer and get busy.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Fabric Play

OK, this will be a short rant:  I HATE PRE-WASHING FABRIC.  Here you see the fabric for one of the two block swaps I am in.  The first "rule" was to pre-wash the fabric.  Well, the washing isn't so bad but then there is the folding of wrinkled fabric, ironing the wrinkled fabric, refolding (wrangling) the fabric in order to cut it into submission for sewing. 

So, because I agreed to two swaps, I got to spend one entire day just doing the full washing routine.  I had planned on getting all that fabric cut but it just didn't happpen.         

The top picture also includes the embroidery that will be in the center of the blocks.  The embroidery is 5" and is tone on tone.  I have all 12 of these embroideries done and ready to be sewn into the blocks. 

In the second picture is the embroidery for the second swap.  These embroideries are 4" and I have 6 of the 12 done.  Everything is now cut for both swaps and I hope to be sewing them next weekend.

I also got all the fabrics ready for putting together my Carpenter's Star quilt but decided I needed to check the cutting directions first so that cutting will be done on Wednesday.

I put the dragon back on the wall to see if the fabric I had would work.  Well, I really like it but there is not enough.  So, I spent all Saturday afternoon visiting fabric stores, trying to find something similar.  It was a no go so today I am going to do some traveling with DH and visit at least 3 more before I go with plan B.  The funny thing is that I found a new fabric for the flames so I may be making them on Wednesday, too. 
For those who had checked in with me last week, I am feeling much better.  Since I was sick I have heard from several others that they have experienced the same "crud" I have had.  I still have some cough but it is so nothing compared to last week.  I am so happy to be feeling better and getting back to the studio and to fabric play.